Ray Saitz: Restore or repair in the event of a computer disaster?

Nothing lasts or works forever, and that’s especially true for your computer. Over time, the Windows operating system could malfunction, your old computer could become extremely slow, or the hard drive could crash completely.

Repairing or restoring a faulty Windows operating system or replacing a hard drive is a time-consuming and usually expensive job, but with a little care and guidance, you may be able to do the job yourself. Fortunately, Windows has built-in tools that will attempt to repair your system or reinstall the Windows operating system, and Microsoft has a website with a list of many disasters that could happen to your Windows 11, 10, or 8.1 computer with suggestions on what to do. do (https://tinyurl.com/3wh4a3vj).

The critical factor is whether or not your computer will boot to the desktop or crash before it even gets there.

If it starts, you’ll find the tools to fix it by clicking the Start button, opening Settings, and under Update & Security, click Recovery in the list on the left. Choose Reset this PC and pay attention to both choices.

One option will be to reinstall Windows but keep the files in your Documents, Pictures, Music, Downloads, and Video folders. It will also retain your account information and system settings, eliminating the tedious process of setting up the computer from scratch.

The other choice is to delete everything on the computer and reinstall Windows. This is what you will choose if you sell, gift or give away your computer since all your files, settings, passwords and personal identifiers will be permanently deleted, but the computer will still have a working operating system.

In either reset option, you will usually have the choice of reinstalling Windows by using a version saved on the computer or by downloading a newer version of Windows from Microsoft. Use the desktop version to restore its factory settings with all product trials and ads, or choose the download option to just get Windows without the factory-installed apps.

Be aware that in either case, any programs or applications that did not come with the computer will be removed and you will need to reinstall them by logging into any websites where you have an account, such as your online bank, Facebook, Instagram, Gmail. , Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. Make sure you know how to reinstall programs and have the necessary installation codes and account passwords ready.

If your computer crashes on startup, you’ll need to access recovery options the hard way. You can access the Windows Recovery Environment by pressing the power button on the computer, waiting for it to boot into Windows, and then holding down the power button until the computer s off and repeating this sequence three times. You will get a blue screen titled Automatic Repair. Choose Advanced Options, then Troubleshoot. In this screen, you can choose Reset this PC or select Advanced options and see if the startup repair option can fix your startup problems. If not, you will need to do one of the reset options.

In the worst case, the hard drive crashes or Windows cannot be restored. In this case, use another computer to download a new version of Windows 10 and burn it to a DVD or put it on a flash drive. This will then be used to reinstall Windows. The only positive is that the new version is free if the computer was previously running Windows 8.1 or 10. The download and instructions can be found on the download site (https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/software -download/windows10).

Even if you decide to call a professional, it is good to know the different recovery options and the whole situation will be much less time consuming, devastating and extremely expensive if you have backed up your files and saved all your usernames and passwords before. . disaster occurs. If you haven’t done it yet, take some time and do it as soon as possible.

Peterborough resident and teacher Ray Saitz writes a regular internet column. He can be reached at [email protected] and links to useful websites can be found at www.rayser.ca/online.

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